Road between Ayer and Zinal now closed until Tuesday due to avalanche risk. Some people have been evacuated from Zinal valley.— Frozen Action (@GrimentzTwit) January 21, 2018
Heavy snow cuts off Zermatt once again, other villages evacuated
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
22 January 2018
Just a fortnight after southern Swiss ski resort Zermatt was cut off from the world for 48 hours due to heavy snow and avalanche risk, the popular village is once again inaccessible after more snow hit the area on the weekend.
The railway line from Täsch to the car-free village closed on Sunday due to avalanche risk, the village said on its website.
Authorities are requesting that guests trying to travel to Zermatt do not come to Täsch or the equally small village Randa, both on the way to Zermatt, but to remain in larger valley cities like Brig and Visp instead while they wait for the roads and railway to reopen.
Zermatt wasn't the only ski village cut off on Monday morning. Andermatt in central Switzerland found itself in the same situation after rail and road connections were closed due to the avalanche risk.
The road from Göschenen to Andermatt, Hospental and Realp will remain closed “at least” until Tuesday at 8am, the ski station said online, with all train connections suspended until at least Monday evening.
Andermatt under the snow. Photo: Andermatt.ch
Road access to the village of Zinal in the Val d'Anniviers was also closed on Sunday and residents evacuated after heavy snow on Saturday night raised the avalanche risk.
Residents of 28 houses in the ‘red zone' were ordered to leave their homes as a precaution, and the road was subsequently closed, Valais police told the media.
In a statement Valais police said the precipitation over the weekend had “particularly affected” the canton, where the avalanche risk is now at the maximum level of 5 in certain areas, according to the Institute for snow and avalanche research.
“Large avalanches can suddenly be set off and may hit close to inhabited areas,” police said. “The situation will remain very dangerous until at least Tuesday.”
At lower altitude where it is raining rather than snowing, the heavy rain may spark small landslides and rockfalls, the statement added.
In the canton of Vaud, police said that the village of Chaussy, near the ski station of Les Diablerets, was also evacuated on Sunday and the road closed, due to the high avalanche risk.
Some residents were also evacuated in Davos, where global political and business leaders are meant to be gathering this week for the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Several train lines in the area are suspended, but the village itself remains accessible for the time being.
The precipitation is likely to continue through Monday, according to MeteoNews, with up to a metre of snow forecast for some places in the Alps.
The snow line will rise to around 1,500-1,800m.
Avalanche risk on January 22nd. Source: Institute for snow and avalanche research.